The Philippines filed on Monday a second diplomatic protest before Beijing over the continued presence of Chinese ships at Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea.
The diplomatic protest also slammed the way the Chinese Embassy in Manila branded Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana as “unprofessional,” addig that embassy officials are “guests” of the Philippine government and “must at all times observe protocol and accord respect to Philippine Government officials.”
The second diplomatic protest was filed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) after a number of senators backed Lorenzana’s denouncing the presence of Chinese ships at the reef.
China continues to claim Julian Felipe Reef as its own, saying the reef is a traditional fishing ground for Chinese fishermen. The said reef is located 324 kilometers east of Palawan province and well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
In its protest, the DFA said: “For every day of delay [of the Chinese ships leaving], the Republic of the Philippines will lodge a diplomatic protest.” The first protest filed by DFA was on March 21.
The DFA also slammed Beijing’s “blatant falsehoods such as claims of adverse weather conditions when there were none and the supposed non-existence of maritime militia vessels in the area.”
One of the senators that backed Lorenzana is Franklin Drilon who said:
“It is high time that the country as one nation stand up to China’s continued incursion in the West Philippine Sea. By all accounts, it is maritime bullying.”
Senator Panfilo Lacson also said Filipinos “should stand foursquare” behind Lorenzana.
“All these have legal basis under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the existing arbitral ruling in our favor,” Lacson said in statement.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, for his part, said China should put an end to its “dubious and illegal claim” over the country’s EEZ and its territorial waters.